We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:22-23).
The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant (Isaiah 24:4-5).
I awoke at 4:17 this morning, tossing and turning from more fitful dreams. I am having them every night now. They are sketchy and begin to fade as I awaken, but all my dreams have one overriding theme in common: waiting. In each dream of the past couple of weeks I or someone else has been desperately waiting for someone to return. It is as if we are all standing on tiptoe at the front window, like a little child waiting for Daddy to come home from work. We press our noses against the glass, we search and we yearn, but he doesn't appear.
My dear friend who suffered a stroke three and a half years ago still lies in her nursing home bed, unable to walk. She called me again yesterday with that deep groan in her weary voice, pleading with me to know why the Lord has not come to bring her home. I cannot answer. I do not know why. I only know that even though I am healthy and I can walk and run and smell and hear and see, still my own spirit is groaning and languishing and waiting eagerly for my adoption as God's child and the redemption of my aging body!
Our gracious God told us from long ago in His Word what these days would be like, didn't He? He did not leave us to wonder why evil has taken over humanity. He told us these days would be "as in the days of Noah" and "as in the days of Lot" - weighed down with so much sin that God could not bear it. He told us that "people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, always learning but never able to acknowledge the Truth" (2 Timothy 3:2-7).
Yes, He told us in His Word, and so the heavy weight of this ungodly world should not take us by surprise. Jesus said, "When evening comes, you say, 'it will be fair weather for the sky is red, and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy for the sky is red and overcast.' You kow how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:2-3). It feels to me as if God is teaching me how to tell time in the very early morning hours, without looking at a clock. I have been waking up at the sound of the first chirping of a bird outside my window, before there is yet light, and I wonder: "Are you teaching me to awaken and watch for You, my Bridegroom, before it is light? Are You giving me these fitful dreams of watching and waiting and looking for the return of someone I desperately want to see?
Awakening at the hour of 4:17 a.m. has become familiar. It has happened several times. And so as I sit here pondering all these things - the groaning, the languishing, the watching and waiting - I decide to turn back to my Bible, still open in the book of Matthew, and look at verse 4:17. It reads: "From that time on Jesus began to preach 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.'"
How faithful He is to reassure us! We stand on tiptoe at the window, His little children, so weary and worn, so beat down by the world, groaning inwardly as we wait, and He reminds us to "repent for THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR." Can you hear the first chirp of the bird before there is yet light?
Shabbat Shalom, my friends!
Kelly Ferrari Mills